June 18, 2005
Article of the Moment
All such content - as well as the long, beautiful, uncluttered shots of desert, sky, jungle and mountain that filled the early episodes - was banished in the first of the prequels ("Episode I: The Phantom Menace," 1999). In the 16 years that separated it from the initial trilogy, a new universe of ancillary media had come into existence. These had made it possible to take the geek material offline so that the movies could consist of pure, uncut veg-out content, steeped in day-care-center ambience. These newer films don't even pretend to tell the whole story; they are akin to PowerPoint presentations that summarize the main bullet points from a much more comprehensive body of work developed by and for a geek subculture.
--Neal Stephenson in this NY Times Editorial. It's an interesting point; the first trilogy was also supposed to be "powerpoint", except the rest of the movie universe wasn't explained, so it seemed much biggger than the "yeah, Darth built 3CP0 back in the day and Chewbacca fought along side Yoda and Boba's dad is the model for the troops" etc etc.